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Insulating Brick Wall from Exterior Side

Portland's picture

I may soon be rennovating a 3-story 1880 brick row house in Pittsburgh, and want to insulate the walls.  One wall has no windows and is in a narrow alley.  Is there an inexpensive way to insulate this whole wall on the exterrior side to minimize lost internal space from framing in walls?  The wall is 3 stories tall, in an unused 3 foot wide allley/walkway, and is older double brick construction.  The wall is not veneer, so it supports internal structures in the building. 


Thanks,


Portland

(post #111707, reply #1 of 14)

I had a rental (not a row) in Oakland near Pitt that was similar 3-sty 3-wythe construction. The old owner furred out the inside with on inch of foam and covered it with cedar boards. Hard to do anything else.

btw, the r-value of solid masonry 14 inch thick walls is only about the same as 1 inch foam. Gotta be the dumbest way I know to build a wall. Ever try to run a bathroom exhaust thru the wall?

I knew another friend that furred the exterior with foam and then put vinyl siding over it. Both ways are a lot of work esp. around the windows.

If you are in a row, why not just do the roof extra well nd let the walls go? 90% of homes in da Burgh don't have wall insulation anyway, why should you be so special? <g>

(post #111707, reply #5 of 14)

Actually, the masonry wall is about R-1.8 while the foam is R-5 to R-7 per inch

 

 


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(post #111707, reply #7 of 14)

Actually, a triple brick wall with limited air spaces between wythe, and with lath and plaster over fur strips is about R-5 total ;-)

(post #111707, reply #12 of 14)

I guess we have different books

 

 


Welcome to the
Taunton University of
Knowledge FHB Campus at Breaktime.
 where ...
Excellence is its own reward!

 

 

Oh Well,

We did the best we could...

(post #111707, reply #2 of 14)

I don't know about cost, but that is exactly the application EIFS was developed for in Europe after WWII for all of the masonry buildings there.

And even if they screw up the detailing a little, there aren't the same moisture issues as with wood frame (although you certainly don't want a steady source of moisture getting into the brick walls.)

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================

(post #111707, reply #4 of 14)

"And even if they screw up the detailing a little..."

Bob,

The odds are in Don's favor. The wall has no windows. The only detailing should be the top, bottom and two sides.

Rich Beckman

Another day, another tool.

(post #111707, reply #3 of 14)

Don,

Welcome to Breaktime!!

If you click on your name above (where it says "To: Don"), you will open your profile.

We would appreciate it if you could fill some of that in.

Thanks!

Rich Beckman

Another day, another tool.

(post #111707, reply #6 of 14)

ur ask'n for trouble...


the real brick wall you have has lime mortar as you can tell there are no expanison joints.. because this mortar with the soft brick (the old bricks aren't fired real hard) moves around alot... the lime mortar is also "self healing" and has to breath as do the soft bricks... even if you just paint it u need a paint that allows moisture to pass like a cement paint... 


if ur dead set on doing it... some company down in FL makes a paint with hollow glass balls in it that they claim will add R-value... might be all smoke but who knows...


pony

(post #111707, reply #8 of 14)

>>the lime mortar is also "self healing" and has to breath as do the soft bricks... even if you just paint it u need a paint that allows moisture to pass like a cement paint...

While one must be careful to allow any moisture that gets into the brick to evaporate out; aka "breath," are you saying that if EIFS is properly applied there would be a problem?

======================================== "Man's capacity for justice makes democracy possible, but man's inclination to injustice makes democracy necessary." Reinhold Niebuhr: 'The Children of Light and the Children of Darkness' http://rjw-progressive.blogspot.com/ ========================================

(post #111707, reply #10 of 14)

Can I do this in some way that breates but insulates too?  The lack of windows seems to make it easier, I'd think.  I have plaster on brick inside, no stud wall.  I'll be living in this one, and with the price of fuel going up, and my concience, I'd just like to insulate if I can find a practical way.


 


Thanks,


 


Portland

(post #111707, reply #11 of 14)

if you have plaster on the inside applied directly to the brick... i'd guess it to be a lime/sand mix and maybe a top coat of plaster.. maybe some portland but if it's original... i'd say no portland...


if you really wanted to do this (dead set on it) 


1.  i just really can't/don't see anything you can do to a true brick masonary wall on the outside of it... that will take your maint. free wall and convert it to something that requires or will require you to maintain it...


2. if i really wanted to add some r-value I'd have to look at add'n maybe 3/4" or 1" of foil faced foam board glued to your interior plaster walls and then drywall over it...


BUT first on really cold days i'd have to feel the wall and see if it was cold... if it's a cold wall then yes you might want to do something even one room at a time... I'm guess'n you really have 3 rows of brick not the 2 you think you have... these walls are not solid brick  mortar... there is a huge amount of air gaps in that wall  so your r-value is prob alot more than you think...


pony

(post #111707, reply #9 of 14)

Don,


Consider Air Krete, a blown in foam. Check out their website http://www.airkrete.com/index.html


One of the videos on the website shows them insulating an exterior brick wall from the outside through small holes drilled in the mortar. May be what you are looking for.


Mike K


Amateur Home Remodeler in Aurora, Illinois

Mike K

Amateur Home Remodeler in Aurora, Illinois

(post #111707, reply #14 of 14)

Hello Mike.


I'm interested in using Air Krete to insulate my home, which is framed with 2x4 studs and has 3" beveled cedar siding. The house is vintage and no tar paper was used under the siding, which is in pretty good shape, considering the age. The interior has been restored. Since I hope to preserve the siding, I don't want to remove it (it's very fragile). I understand the air movement in the wall cavity will decrease the R-value of celluose, so I'm looking at foam as an option, to stop the infiltration of air. I don't like the idea of urethane, so that's why I'm interested in the Air Krete. I have many questions about this product, one of them being, what happens if I need to pull a wire through the stud cavity after the installation? Does the stuff set up like a rock? Can I drill into it? Do you think it will provide the wind barrier I'm after? How heavy is the product? How about the curing process... It sounds wet. Is it going to make my interior walls funky?


Anything you can tell me would be great. Thanks!


Shannon

(post #111707, reply #13 of 14)

I wonder if you could fur it out about two inches on the outside, apply wet cells, then cover with vinyl siding or some such? (Assuming the vinyl siding won't make you totally sick to your stomach.) This would let the brick "breathe" but would provide significant insulation.


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